Toys That Look Like Every Kid, Even Kids With Different Abilities

It’s been a big month for the toy world and its recognition of disabled kids. As your resident amputee GeekMom writer, I thought I’d share a few of the exciting things that are happening.

I’ll start with my favorite limb different kid, Jordan, of the website Born Just Right, who recently started a campaign to get the American Doll Company to consider making a limb different doll. Jordan was born with two arms but only one hand. She is very active in the limb different community. She found out that the company had added a diabetes care kit to their accessories option after a young fan who had diabetes drummed up over 4 thousand signatures on a petition. Because she loved her American Girls dolls and truly wanted one that looked like her, Jordan decided to start her own petition. That was 21,000 signatures ago.

Her story ran wild on the internet, being featured on the front page of Change.org, and also appeared on several national television broadcasts. Jordan finally got an answer.

Photo: Born Just Right Used with Permission
Photo: Born Just Right
Used with Permission

The American Girl company acknowledged Jordan’s efforts and said they will definitely be considering her request as they plan their next generation of dolls. Her mom, Jen, was satisfied with the reply, saying “I’m pleased with American Girl’s response because they didn’t say no. Their statement says it’s on the radar of the company’s design team. I’m hopeful, and I feel like I’ll keep this petition going for as long as we need until the company offers this option.”

If you’d like to help Jordan and her limb different friends continue her quest to have a doll that truly looks like them, head on over to Change.org and sign her petition. I know she’d appreciate it.

Next up, an organization called Toy Like Me is making huge strides in getting toys to the market that represent the wide world of disabled children. Knowing there were many families out there who were customizing dolls and action figures to match their children’s own challenges, the Toy Like Me campaign encouraged people to share stories and pictures of their creations, hoping to inspire toy companies to take notice.

Photo: Toy Like Me Used with Permission
Photo: Toy Like Me
Used with Permission

The photos rolled in. You can see many examples in this post at brightside.me. Moms, dads and other family members had created walkers, wheelchairs, hearing aids, feeding tubes, and even prosthetic limbs, so their children could relate to the toys they played with.

First Playmobile accepted the challenge and has promised they will have several new characters in their upcoming lines that represent the disabled population.

Then the British company named Makie (a doll company where you can design and order your own creation) stepped up and took on the challenge of offering adaptive options, giving their new line the same name – Toy Like Me. Their new options became very popular. Enough so that the company is branching out and will be arriving in the United States soon.

In the meantime, the Toy Like Me organization hopes to build a helpful website and continue their campaign, but need some financial support to move forward. If you have a disabled child in your life or are thankful that the kids in your life don’t have these struggles, seriously think about clicking over to the crowd funding page for Toy Like Me. These folks are changing the way toy makers see the childhood demographic.

Photo: Toy Like Me Used with Permission
Photo: Toy Like Me
Used with Permission

This leads us to the newest development at Lego, a company I’ve written about many times for GeekMom.com. Last week Lego revealed a new line of minifigs that includes a guy in a wheelchair. This is a huge step in the right direction.

Last summer I shared with you that I was very disappointed in Lego, because of their new ‘disabled’ minifig. The problem? Lego’s first disabled figurine was an old man in a wheelchair, that came with a young man who pushed him. Not really the right message to send to the toddlers who would play with this new line of Duplo sets, that the average disabled person is an elderly man who can’t even power his own chair. It wasn’t enough.

But now I can offer my heartfelt appreciation to Lego once again. Their new figure in a wheelchair is a young guy, with a knit cap, who is in charge of his own mobility. That’s a huge step (roll) in the right direction!

With over 3 million kids in America alone who are living with some kind of disability, it only makes sense for toy makers to open their minds and challenge their design teams. Toys that represent this population help not only the disabled kids themselves, but every able bodied kid who grows up playing with these adapted toys, and walks around with the knowledge that every kind of body is a ‘normal’ body for someone.